Civil servants need anti-corruption training

| 11/07/2012

bribery_2.jpg(CNS): During the latest meeting of chief officers with the deputy governor, Franz Manderson raised concerns that civil servants and board members were not aware of the provisions of the Cayman Islands Anti-corruption Law, which came into effect in 2010. As a result, the head of the public sector has proposed that the Attorney General’s Chambers train staff in order to ensure there is sufficient exposure to the law which affects all government employees and those working in statutory authorities and government companies, as well as members of the private sector appointed to boards.

Edlin Myles, a former member of the National Housing and Development Trust, was recently charged after he was arrested under the provisions of the law last year and Patricia Webster, a civilian staffer with the RCIPS, was the first public sector worker to be charged under the law.

More than two years ago the attorney general issued a warning to people serving on government boards about potential conflicts of interest and other issues following the law’s implementation. Samuel Bulgin said the new law would have a significant impact, not just on public officials, but also those in the private sector and general public that work or engage with public officials.

The law covers a range of offences, from bribery of public officers and members of the Legislative Assembly, frauds on government, contractors subscribing to election funds, breach of trust by public officials and members of the Legislative Assembly, abuse of office, bribing foreign public officials and conflict of interest, among others.

Meanwhile, Manderson also suggested that the regular CO meetings with him would benefit from the expertise of the director of public prosecutions, courts administrator and solicitor general, and that in future they would be invited to attend meetings.

Other issues on the agenda at the 25 June meeting included the need for chief officers to ensure that government accounts were submitted in advance of the 31 August deadline and that the chief financial officers must be held accountable for the timeliness and quality of these public accounts.

The civil service bosses also heard that progress was being made on the public service review and that an initial report will be presented to the deputy governor by the end of this month.

The deputy governor also agreed that the Government Administration Building should be used as a shelter in the event of a natural disaster and a plan will be formulated to set out who will be given access and to what areas of the building, along with other logistical and safety considerations.

The latest minutes from the high level government meeting also revealed that a committee has been formed to make recommendations in regards to the recognition of Cultural Day within the Civil Service.

See minutes below.

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Comments (22)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Training?!!!!!  It is call MORALS and ETHICAL behaviour which are the basic principles in life.  Who on God's beautiful green earth needs training not to engage in bribery, corruption and crime.  Never heard such tripe in my life!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I hope this training highlights that abuse of office also means not hiring your immediate relatives!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I've often heard Judges tell defendants "ignorance of the law is no excuse".

    I'm sure Mr. Manderson has heard this phrase also.

    Only when some of the privileged (at the very top) are made an example (as is the case for many disenfranchised) will "Anti Corruption Law" be meaningful!

    Instead we currently have those who are ethical and follow the law, getting fired and made to resign….go figure.

    Time to walk the walk Dep Gov, Police Commissioner and Governor!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I would have thought that would be in there employment conatrct to start…hmmm. Not surprised. How about conflict of interest for e.g work permits with Immigration employees that have there own Business or a foriegner asking them to front to gte permits through easier. Free or discounted tabs at restaurants and bars should also be adressed and so on….

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hey Franz, any chance you can squeeze the UDP in on that for us please?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Manderson,

    Thank you very much for leading the way by making the minutes of your meetings public. I hope that other agencies of governent are as transparent going forward.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The last thing that we need to do is offer anti-corruption training. The only purpose that will serve is to better prepare them to hide their wrong-doing.

     

    I have to premise that those charged under the anti-corruption legislation were not ignorant to the fact that what they were doing was unethical, but felt no moral obligation because they didn't realise that it was now illegal also.

     

    I am lucky to have come from a generation where the moral compasses were established and we knew right from wrong before we finished kindergarten. The only way we can teach morals and ethics are by the way we live our own lives, and to the best of my knowledge and belief I have passed those on to my own children. Offering anti-corruption training to a morally corrupt person is akin to buying toothbrushes for all the chickens that we have running around.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Franz,

    You need to make sure that all civil servants understand that the requirement in the Public Service Law that says that civil servants are supposed to "serve" the government of the day does not include doing anything that is illegal under any law or immoral or contrary to any of the other rules in the Public Service Law and the Public Service Regulations.

    Too many of the middle level and senior ones are driven by doing whatever the politicians say without concern for what is legal because for the past few years that has been the main way you get to the top. You need to stop that.

    Once civil servants understand that they will get reprimanded or fired for going outside the law to please a politician then a lot of politically driven corruption will end.

    Maybe there should be posters in civil service offices with basic information on what is illegal. It seems like a lot of the senior people have no clue or don't care.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Start at the top – that's where its worst.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Start at the top and work your way down.

  11. Anonymouse says:

    Yes, particularly training in why its bad form to fire public servants who are doing their job. Start from the top down, with the Boards and then the Chief Officers. And maybe correct some injustices of this nature perpetrated in the last few weeks/years, where the staff are still being paid and so can be reassigned or have their contracts renewed. Now wouldn't that be a good example of not bowing to corruption?

    • Anonymous says:

      Would this training include spotting illegal activity even if authorised by a Minister?

      How about Ministers awarding contracts without due process?

      What if the civil servant concerned became aware of Ministers awarding beneficial tax arrangements to their buddies?

      Lots of other questions, but thats all for now, best of luck with the training, and if you do spot any of the above, and report it, well I hope you can get another job!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Franz.

    That is a good start.

    Part of corruption involves politicians putting cronies, those whose parent campaigns for the party, those who are happy to turn a blind eye to wrong doing and yes men (and women) into positions of power in the civil service. That is something you need to end.

    I know some of these appointments were before your time, but that has got to stop. You need to figure out a way to move them out of where the politiians have put them otherwise we will never get a balanced budget or anything else that works.

     

     

  13. Anonymous says:

    What I can't figure out is why, years after it was formed, the Commission for Standards in Public Life still has no legal authority to perform its function under the Constitution.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I applaud Mr. Manderson but have to shake my head that any department head who has not undergone this training and ensured their staff has taken the training are not performing their duties. The private sector has taken courses and are very aware of the ramifications of any action they take and how it could be perceived and now we learn that once again well after the fact the civil service sector has to get their act together and catch up …. Oh right none of these laws, rules, regulations, policies apply to government workers just private sector, duh when will I learn, sigh

    • Anonymous says:

      The government consistently refuses to eat its own dog food.

       

      Just look at the way it hires expats. The government hires expats via "government contracts". The government conveniently sidesteps the whole work permit mess.

       

      And another thing, government expat workers are not subject to roll over. Go figure.

    • Anonymous says:

      Heads of Departments haven’t gone through this training because it doesn’t exist. Did you read the article?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes I did and like in the private sector they could have taken the initiative to get the training on their own just like we did. No one offered the training to us many of us realized the full impact of the law and paid for the training out of our own pocket, not our employer’s. It’s calledcontinuing education to maintain a level of professionalism. But typical of government workers, sit back and be spoon fed and don’t ask or take initiative or horrors of horrors pay for it out of your own pocket, let those of us in the private sector fund it for government once again. Seriously take the earbuds out of your ears, stop bbming long enough to get the intent of the post which was there is a huge lack of pro-active management and work by those employed in government instead it is a reactive and procrastinate and do the bare minimum approach.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Smoke and mirrors.

    Why wasn't Mr Manderson preaching this when he was CIO and a number of his staff were involved in running businesses that used employees requiring work permits or merrily moonlighting as private immigration consultants.

     

  16. Gollum says:

    And in other statements of the obvious today, gravity makes things fall and being fat is bad for you.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Excellent initiative Mr. Mandeson. Thank you.

    Corruption has been allowed to creap into so many aspects of government. Leadership is required. Education is required. So is prosecution.

    Civil servants need to know that not all instructions given by politicians are lawful.

    Certain senior civil servants in particular may need to understand that by signing off on expenditures just because a politician wants public money spent for political purposes, they may actually be aiding and abetting a criminal enterprise. They need to understand that "I was just following orders" is no defense. We need Mr. Manderson and the anti-corruption unit to made sure that those who knowingly enable the expenditure of public money for political purposes lose their jobs and spend time in jail.